The National Co-ordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Brigadier-General Francis Vib-Sanziri, has warned of more buildings collapsing if developers do not adhere to building regulations.
Speaking at a news conference in Accra yesterday, he said the time had come to create the awareness on the increasing number of buildings collapsing in the country and the need for developers to seek expert advice before undertaking any building project.
This, he said would help avoid the collapse of buildings which had become rampant in recent times.
Brig. Gen. Vib-Sanziri mentioned poor construction and management, the use of inferior materials such as iron rods, blocks, concreting and improper architectural design as factors that contributed to the collapse of buildings.
He also identified the use of unqualified or unskilled building personnel for the design, construction and supervision as well as poor soil and site investigations among others.
Within the last three years, he said, the 18 people have died in seven separate collapsed buildings in Accra alone with 51 injuries, and attributed that to human factor.
He mentioned the collapse of the Melcom Shop in Achimota in 2012, which recorded 14 deaths with 67 injured, the Ayigbe Town-Bubuashie, residential apartment which collapsed in 2014 as well as the Cantonments building collapse last year in which 12 people were injured.
Brig. Gen. Vib-Sanziri also recalled that a residential apartment collapsed at Ablekuma this year with injuries, another at Nii Boye Town, where one person died with two people sustaining injuries last year, as well as at Weija, where a three storey building also collapsed this year with eight injured.
He touched on the collapse of the East Cantonments building in July this year, in which three people died and 19 others were injured.
All these, he said, must be a source of worry and urged contractors to ensure that they followed laid down procedure in the building industry.
The National Co-ordinator said NADMO was not an enforcement agency to stop or sanction work but rather, an advisory body and urged the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to be firm in ensuring that they conduct thorough checks before issuing permits for buildings.
He mentioned loss of lives and properties, the physical and psychological traumas as well as loss of livelihood and damage to infrastructure and other amenities as some of the effects of building collapsing.
‘The socio-economic implications of such events are clear and NADMO’s technical advisory committees have investigated these occurrences and are working to put in place measures to prevent building collapsing, he said.
By Francis Asamoah Tuffour & Victoria Palm